While most of the people I know flocked to the beaches this Holy week, I left my holidays blank. No plans, no destinations, nothing. Lately, I have been quite used to this lifestyle already.
So, I made a really nice stay-cation by doing grocery shopping with all the food I’d love to eat, done some English tutoring lessons, and spent the rest of my days surfing the net.
Last Good Friday, my beau asked if we would check out Quiapo Church. If you know me pretty well, you’d know that going to churches isn’t my cup of tea. My mom and I used to always argue about this.
You see, my dad’s a Buddhist, and my mom’s a Catholic/Buddhist/Taoist, then I studied in a Evangelical school… so as a child, my concept of religion is pretty messed up. I have my own beliefs, which includes that no one should be forced to go to a church when he/she doesn’t want to.
Anyway, back to Quiapo, the church’s patron saint is The Black Nazarene. It is publicly processed on three annual occasions: New Years’ Day, Good Friday (yikes!), and on the 9th of January.
I’ve never been to Quiapo. I was a bit hesitant to go there on a Good Friday because I know that there’d be hundreds of people out there. Plus, from the news I’ve heard a million times about The Black Nazarene procession, the hardcore devotees can get really rough. On the other hand, I was also a teeny bit excited because my officemate, who’d always show me her new iPhone case, gets it all cheap from Quiapo. So, I was kind of planning to hoard iPhone cases from Quiapo.
When we got there, we had to park our car miles away from the Church, which means I had to walk it out. My ever optimistic boyfriend cheered me up while doing the-walk-that-seems-to-take-forever. As expected, Quiapo was trooped by hundreds of devotees. Icon vendors, candle vendors, snack vendors were all there. Sadly, I didn’t see any iPhone case being sold around Quiapo.
My beau took me around since the church gate is still closed and it’s impossible to get inside. He showed me the fortune-tellers, the blind masseuses, the gayuma vendors, etc etc. We wormed our way through the side entrance of the church to attend a part of the ongoing mass. My beau and I did our prayers, hoping they would be granted. A little past 3PM, The Black Nazarene finally arrived, people started raising their hands–I really didn’t understand what was this all about. I really felt out of place.
People started pushing and I started to move away from the crowd. There’s no way I would want to be part of the stampede. My beau and I decided to go back to our car–forgetting to light a candle before we left the church 🙁
Days after the procession, I’ve read some news that 145 people were injured during that day. I’m glad that my beau and I were able to get out of the frantic crowd safely last Good Friday. All I can say is being in Quiapo is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Happy Easter, everyone!